She was way too close for comfort. And yet, I wouldn't have wanted to be anywhere else but there. Here trunk hovered over my head, breathing in all the smells, probably detecting my heartbeat. I was sure everyone had to hear my heart pump, so hard did it work to rush blood and adrenaline through my fragile little human body which sat frozen on top of fuel jerrycans in the back of an open, unprotected Landcruiser bakkie.
My body prepared for fight or flight, yet neither would save me if I chose to give in.
I looked into her eyes and then again to the tip of her trunk, centimeters from my nose. This beautiful, magnificent creature. Handmade by God. His finest creation, Elephants.
Even though my body was on high alert, my mind was crystal clear and I hoped time could stand still forever. ---
Connecting with a wild elephant in this way can never be described in words. Living through such an intense and close encounter is the very essence of feeling alive.
It's a lesson not only your brain but also something deep inside of you learns. A lesson for the body and soul. And you develop trust.
I believe that life doesn't make sense unless you have felt and lived this kind of connection to a creature of the wild. It would mean that a part of you. essential to growth and wisdom and, ultimately, survival and happiness, would stay asleep forever.
To me, life as a human is incomplete unless you have felt a connection to the wild so strong that it gives you a meaning. I believe, that one reason for this world to have lost its moral compass is because people have simply lost connection to mother earth. Today, anything needs to pay for itself - you pay, you stay. If one cannot place a financial value on wildlife it must go. Then, it's a pest. Often, dead animals are more valuable than live ones.
But elephants have a value beyond money, an even higher value than their ecological value. But this one only understands once this connection is felt.
Killing the very creature that challenges us in intelligence and wisdom, to me, is not only criminal but also suicidal. It is cutting into the fabric of our souls, scarring it deeply...
--- Mathilda starred into my eyes for 8 minutes (I accidentally left my camera rolling so I recorded the event, though in a strange angle). Her herd approached and one calf was curious. Mathilda rumbled deeply, lifting her massive head in warning and positioned herself between us and her family. The youngster trumpeted, expressing frustration! The trumpet - the wildest and most intimidating sound of Africa - echoed through the valley. Time stood still.
All elephants stood in alert. Mathilda turned back, now facing me straight from the front, investigating further, not sure what to decide. My smell is surely now registered in her large scent database... Finally, she moved on.
The herd followed her into the thick reeds of the riverbed, disappearing from sight. Leaving us trembling and in awe.